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May 30, 2009

We're Number 1

Amherst has just been named the Number 1 college town in the U.S., according to the article posted here. Here we are on the map.

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It looks like the ranking was due to a number of factors, including 5 colleges in the immediate area (UMass, Amherst College, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, and Hampshire); reasonable cost of living; access to cultural events; and good public transportation. The article forgot to mention the natural beauty of western Mass.

Amherst fall foliage.jpg

Posted by hgroteva at 9:21 PM

May 17, 2009

Many Moods

All these photos were taken off the deck of our new house within the space of the first two weeks living here. The view is of Mt. Holyoke Range State Park, due west. The moods of the terrain seem to change every 5 minutes - we have experienced dense fog, clouds, heavy rain, wild winds, and bright sun -- often all on the same day. What a privilege!

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Posted by hgroteva at 8:20 PM

May 15, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging: Four Minus One

In Sadie's absence, Pookie had a quiet afternoon.

Pookie 051409.jpg

The MN tribe always seemed to sleep in pairs or as a foursome. Pookie always paired with Sadie, but you can see that the dynamic is now a threesome - they seem to be pretty happy, although I'm sure they miss Sadie. On the other hand, peace now reigns in the house and Chloe and Dylan can move around without slinking and fearing attack. By all reports, Sadie is doing well in her new home.

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Pookie Shadow Mac 051409 - b.JPG

Posted by hgroteva at 1:31 AM

May 14, 2009

Obama's ASU Commencement speech

President Obama's commencement speech at Arizona State last night had me glued to the tube. He is amazingly inspirational - whenever I hear him speak, it feels like he's talking directly to me.

ASU had the bad taste not to present him with an honorary degree. Yahoo news reported the following: "His body of work is yet to come. That's why we're not recognizing him with a degree at the beginning of his presidency," university spokeswoman Sharon Keeler said after the school's student newspaper first reported the decision.

Obama turned this lemon into lemonade by telling the graduates that their "body of work" would ALWAYS be in progress and that they should never rest on their laurels or their titles, even if the title was POTUS. Here is the first part of his speech. The 2nd and 3rd installments are available on YouTube.

Posted by hgroteva at 7:49 PM

May 10, 2009

Sadie's New Family

Sadie moved to a new family today. If you've been following this blog, you know that her adjustment to the other cats has been, well, not what you would call "adjustment." One of our new neighbors fell in love with Sadie and mentioned that her sister was looking for a new cat. We met her sister and husband today, and they really liked Sadie too. So she went home with them to Newport, RI. We agreed to keep in touch, and if things don't work out there, they can bring her back. Chloe must sense her absence already, because just in the space of 2 hours she is more relaxed, climbing into our laps, and purring away. I will miss Sadie - she loved to perch on my shoulder and purr - but her being in a different environment will be good all the way around. She will have a good home, I am sure.

Posted by hgroteva at 7:15 PM

May 7, 2009

Quite the Week

We moved into our new house last Friday - a week ago. Although it went as smoothly as it could have gone, it has been exhausting. The movers came at 7:30 Friday morning and had everything out of the house by about 1:00; then they took a brief lunch break and started unloading at the new place. The unloading was finished around 7:30 pm. The following day we brought the cleaning crew into the old place, and it is now clean and empty with the exception of about 200 boxes, which I have advertised for free on Craigslist (come get 'em on Saturday). At the new house, we've dealt with the garbage service, propane delivery, recycling barrel delivery people, lawn folks, mail folks, builder, cable people, and others I'm forgetting at the moment.

One of the more painful glitches was that the washer and dryer didn't fit through the door to the laundry room, even with the door taken off. So the builder had to come and remove the trim, install the machines, and then put the trim back on. But it's in place now.

The cats (individually) have adapted well to the new house, but the MN and NM tribes are still not integrating. Sadly, we have decided to find a new home for Sadie. As much as I love Sadie, she has poor Dylan cowed into slinking around and hiding above cupboards that are 10 feet tall where she can't be seen from below. We need more peace in the kingdom. The cats have enjoyed venturing outside a bit (yes, even Pookie) - but our neighbor warned us not to let them out after dark. She mentioned sightings of deer, moose, coyotes, and bear. So we round 'em up at night.

Despite all this grousing, once the dust settles, I know I'm going to love it here. The view westward is magical and changes by the minute all day. I've been taking a series of pictures from the same vantage point and will post them as soon as I can get to it (after all those papers are graded).

Thanks to all who have sent good wishes for the move. They have been much appreciated! I told my colleagues that I hope they like me, because I'm not moving again!

Posted by hgroteva at 9:26 PM